You remember the lovely ladies from FEMEN, don’t you? They’re the unseemly Ukraine-based feminists who consider it their personal mission to strip naked in demand of abortion. They especially hate the Catholic Church for its defense of traditional morality and its opposition to abortion and same-sex “marriage.”
So at the 10:00 a.m. Mass in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral on Christmas Day 2013, they staged a protest–desecrating the altar before being hauled off by the ushers and the police.
And in April 2013, FEMEN protesters invaded a lecture on blasphemy by Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, and doused him with water before being arrested.
Oh, oh! And these ladies in Rome–showing off their stuff in January 2013 for Pope Benedict, who conducted himself with dignity and grace, as usual, in the Wednesday General Audience.
Well, they’re back! And they’ve had their day in court.
A group of nine angry women broke into Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on February 12, 2013, following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, shirtless and painted with offensive graffiti. During the protest, the women struck and damaged the cathedral’s new bells, which had been placed on display as Parisians celebrated Notre Dame’s 850th anniversary.
Their court case had been postponed several times; but the women were finally brought before the Paris Criminal Court on Wednesday, July 9, 2014.
During the court hearing, the protesters were demure, showing no aggression and dressed modestly in black, their hair wreathed in colorful flowers. Their appearance was, according to the French Catholic newspaper La Croix, intended to demonstrate the “peaceful” nature of their protest, while the women tried to show that the cathedral’s security staff had violently forced them out. One of the women claimed that her broken tooth was the result of rough handling by the cathedral’s security personnel.
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Anne-Guillaume Serre, the lawyer arguing the case against FEMEN, was unconvinced by the perky flowers. “Their victimhood is like the flowers they wore: artificial,” she argued. She emphasized the violence of the “aggression” of “commando” FEMEN. She noted that the group’s own website calls the movement “sextrémiste” and announces the arrival of “feminine terrorism.”
Attorney Laurent Delvolvé, representing Notre Dame de Paris, tried to demonstrate how the women had successfully interrupted the worship, noting that the protest occurred during a “jubilee, when the Church wants to solemnize,” and that the women had attacked “a particular object, a bell, assigned to worship upon casting.”
The lawyer for the cathedral called on the court to impose a fine of €10,000 in damages, so “that such acts do not recur at Notre Dame, as in the smallest church, as in the Great Mosque of Paris, as in the smaller synagogue.”
The prosecutor agreed, citing a “deliberate and concerted action,” and assessed €1,500 in fines against each of the nine activists, and a suspended fine of 250 € to 500 € against the supervisors, judging their violence “unacceptable,” whatever the place of worship.
Attorneys defending the FEMEN protesters saw the case differently, and asked the court to acquit them of the charges. They minimized the extend of damage caused by the women, while emphasizing the “character and social policy” of the action by FEMEN. The defense pointed to the huge demonstrations organized by the Church to protest same-sex marriage. Since the Church had intruded into society, it was appropriate–according to FEMEN’s defense–for the protesters to also intrude into the Church.
The final ruling is expected September 10.